The New Year is almost here and with that comes New Year energy. It’s fueled by the unlimited potential we see in the clean slate of a fresh calendar. While there’s a lot of good intention behind it, that energy has a short life span and quickly declines if you don’t keep the momentum going. Especially when it comes to exercise goals.
95% of people will have given up on their freshly-set exercise goals by January 15. Don’t be part of this statistic. So to help, here are 12 new exercises to try in 2018.
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1. Windmill: Lie on your back with your arms extended out to the sides at shoulder height. Raise your legs until they’re perpendicular to the floor. Lower your legs to the left side of your body so you meet the floor a few inches away from your left hand, then bring them back to center. Repeat, lowering your legs to the opposite side. Repeat entire sequence 12 times.
2. Plank: If you can fit your body onto the ground, you can hold a plank! This isometric exercise strengthens the deep postural muscles supporting the abdominal wall and engages multiple muscle groups at once for an effective use of time.
3. Bicycles: While crunches are the typical go-to exercise for many, they are not the most effective in building strong abs. If you absolutely must do crunches, these are the ones that matter – bicycles work transverse, rectus, and oblique abdominal muscles and encourage stronger neck and lower back muscles to boot. Also, slow it down, hold each pose for a couple seconds before releasing. You’ll feel the burn in no time.
4. Box jumps: Use a plyo box at the gym, or a sturdy bench. Make sure to clear the surrounding area just in case you slip. Jump onto the box or bench and land with soft knees. Step — don’t jump — back down to the floor. Repeat 10-25 times.
5. Single-leg squat: Try this exercise with or without weight. First, balance on your right foot. Bend the left leg and reach it behind you. Keep your shoulders back and your core engaged. Now, bend the right knee into a squat position. Execute this squat as carefully as if you were trying to set down a full glass of water and then pick the same glass up. Repeat 15-25 times.
6. Incline: On the treadmill? Stair machine? Elliptical? Outdoors? No matter where you are, find that incline! A 20-minute walk, hiking through the mountains adapting to terrain, changing incline levels from 3 to 15 on the treadmill are all so beneficial for your calves, quadriceps, and hamstrings.
7. Hip bridges:
- Two-leg hip bridges: Lie flat on the floor and bend both knees so that your feet are flat on the ground. Drive through your heels and push your hips up toward the ceiling. Squeeze your glutes and slowly lower your hips down.
- Single-leg hip bridges: Start in the same position as the two-leg version. However, in this one lift one foot off the ground. Continue driving through the heel of the planted foot and lift your hips up. This version may feel a little more intense but it’s totally worth the effort!
8. Squat & overhead press: Begin in a standing position with a dumbbell in each hand. Clean the dumbbells to shoulder height utilizing a jumping motion and shoulder rotation. Your palms should be facing each other and elbows pointed forward. Look directly forward, chest up, and feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down – flexing the knees and hips to lower your body, and maintain good posture. Pause at the bottom before rising up to a standing position. Press the weights overhead by extending elbows. Return weights to shoulders before repeating. Repeat 10-15 times.
9. Lunge & twist: Hold a medicine ball (optional) in front of you with elbows bent about 90 degrees. Step forward with your left foot in a lunge position. Be sure to keep your knee over your left foot; don’t twist at the knee.
10. Plank with Shoulder Taps: Come into a static plank position, again with the hands just underneath the shoulders. Your core, quadriceps, and shoulders should all be engaged. Without rocking your hips side-to-side, touch your right hand to your left shoulder and then place it back to the floor. Then tap your right shoulder with your left hand and bring it back. Alternate right and left 15-25 times (right/left equals one rep).
11. Walk-Outs: From a standing position, bend your knees and bring your hands all the way to the floor in front of you. Walk your hands out until you are in a push-up position with your hands directly underneath your shoulders. Brace your core and hold for just a few seconds. Walk the hands back until they are at your feet and then stand all the way up. Repeat 15-25 times.
12. Pike Push-Ups: Come back into your plank position. but this time, push your hips up toward the ceiling and keep your spine long. If you do yoga, you’ll know this position as downward-facing dog. Keep your entire body active and your neck relaxed, and bend the elbows as if you were about to head-butt the floor. How much you bend the elbows is up to you, but your head should never actually reach the floor. Step your feet closer to your hands to intensify this move. Try to do 15-25 reps!
Lastly… fuel up after your workout with an adequate amount of protein and carbohydrates to help muscles recover.
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